May 27, 2023
Jewish tax collectors were outcasts in Israel. They were held in contempt because they betrayed their own people by working for the Romans. Why is this a betrayal? Because they took funds from their countrymen to cover the expenses accrued by the very nation that invaded, oppressed, and occupied them. Also, it was common knowledge that tax collectors took more money than they were supposed to, and Rome didn’t care as long as they got their proper cut. Another Jewish tax collector named Zaccheus freely admitted as much to Jesus in Luke 19:2. So Jesus took a huge chance in calling a “Benedict Arnold” such as Levi (Matthew). This would tarnish His reputation! Word of this kind of behavior reached John the Baptist as he rotted in prison. John sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Luke 7:18-21) It must have occurred to John that this wasn’t Messiah-like behavior. Jesus told those disciples to report to John the many miracles they have witnessed, then He says this, “And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (v.23) Jesus’ behavior was very offensive to many people, especially those religious elites. I thank God for this offensive behavior because in it, I have been redeemed. Jesus said that it was the sick that needed a physician.
I wanted to encourage you today if you feel sick and in need of care. You have come to the right place if your response is to come to God. Jesus taught that all were welcome into His kingdom. Those who were “well” really didn’t need Him, therefore, they rejected Him. But God chose the very foolish things to confound the wisdom of the wise. Just as Levi, we may feel, at times, like outcasts but Jesus commands, “Follow Me.” So??? What are we waiting for you? Get out there! Step out in faith and start serving Him in some way. Follow Him wherever He leads you.
‘69 / ‘76 / Egg Harbor Twp NJ